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14721Re: Antioch in Communion with Monophysites?!

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  • Athanasios Jayne
    Aug 1, 2005
      --- In orthodox-rocor@yahoogroups.com, "Fr. John R. Shaw"
      <vrevjrs@e...> wrote:
      > Athanasios Jayne wrote:
      > > Metropolitan Anthony Khrapovitsky's error has
      > > been widely criticized, and rightly so.
      > JRS: How do you know it was an "error"?
      Have you studied theology?<

      Dear Fr. John,

      Yes, I frequently study theology, when I read the divine
      Scriptures, and the writings of the Holy Fathers, and
      I am far from alone in the conclusion that Met. Anthony
      was mistaken in his teachings about our Redemption in
      Christ. Fr. John--do you wish to state, here in this
      forum, that Met. Anthony was *not* mistaken on this
      subject? Please tell us your opinion of the teaching
      of Met. Anthony concerning Redemption--in your opinion,
      was he in error, or was he not?

      But whether Met. Anthony was mistaken or not has little
      bearing upon our discussion of anathemas, except insofar
      as it by concrete example establishes the evident truth
      that no Hierarch of himself is infallible--which is
      something that I have always believed and always said.
      Therefore, by extension, it is reasonable to assert that
      St. Theophan the Recluse *may* have been mistaken when
      he taught the following, which exactly agrees with my
      teaching which you have called "heresy":

      "...BY THE VERY FACT that you have conceived a different
      view of things than that which is maintained in the
      CHURCH. It is not inscription in the baptismal records
      which makes one a member of the Church, but the spirit
      and content of one's opinions. Whether your teaching
      and your name are pronounced as being under anathema
      ARE OPPOSED TO THOSE OF THE CHURCH, and when you persist
      in them. Fearful is the anathema. Leave off your evil
      opinions. Amen."

      --St. Theophan the Recluse, "What is an Anathema?"
      translated from the Russian text published by
      Pravoslavnaya Rus, #4, 1974, (emphasis mine--AJ).

      However, neither you, nor anyone else so far, has
      produced any evidence that St. Theophan was in error
      when he taught this, or that any other Saint or Holy
      Father ever said anything which in any way contradicts
      this teaching. And so, presented with the teaching
      of a glorified Hierarch of the Church--a teaching
      which has never to my knowledge been disputed--as a
      son of the Orthodox Church I must favor the undisputed
      teaching of a glorified Hierarch over that of one
      Priest--despite the fact that I have always held this
      particular Priest in the highest regard for his wisdom,
      knowledge, and moderation. I speak of Fr. John R. Shaw.

      > I did not make any accusations against St. Theophan
      the Recluse. It was you who introduced his name into the
      discussion. I doubt he would have supported your writing
      such things.<

      Yes, I introduced his name--just as you introduced the
      name of Met. Athony Khrapovitsky. There is nothing
      wrong, per se, with introducing names, so far as I can see.
      However, as I believe I have shown, the name you introduced
      has little relevance, except to remind us that Hierarchs
      are not infallible (something I have not forgotten),
      while the name I have introduced, by contrast, has a
      direct bearing upon our discussion, in that it introduces
      the witness of a glorified Hierarch which clearly confirms
      what I have been saying about anathemas, and which,
      with equal clarity, contradicts what you have been saying.

      You say you do not make accusation against St. Theophan,
      and yet you have clearly asserted that his teaching about
      anathemas is "heresy." By calling my teaching which
      agrees with St. Theophan "heresy," you likewise condemn
      the teaching of St. Theophan--for his teaching, which
      I have quoted above, and mine, are the same. If you say
      that "A" is heresy, and if "A" is the same as "B," then
      you must also say that "B" is heresy, or you contradict
      yourself by a logical fallacy.

      Now, let us again examine the case of Origen, whose name
      you previously introduced.

      This is the teaching of the Church concerning Origen:

      "If anyone does not anathematize Arius, Eunomius,
      Macedonius, Apollinaris, Nestorius, and ORIGEN,
      as well as their impious writings, as also all other
      heretics already condemned and anathematized by the
      Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, and by the aforesaid
      four Holy Synods and [if anyone does not anathematize]
      all those who have held and hold or who in their
      impiety persist in holding to the end the same
      opinion as those heretics just mentioned: let him
      be anathema."

      --The Holy Fifth Ecumenical Council, Canon XI.

      So you see, Father, that not only Hierarchs can say
      "so-and-so is anathema." For by this Canon ALL
      are required to anathematize these heretics,
      and not only these heretics, but also their writings,
      and also all the heretics who were previously condemned
      and anathematized by the Church. And not only that,
      all are required to anathematize "all those who have
      held AND HOLD [present tense] ...the same opinion as
      those heretics just mentioned." Further, in the
      Service of the Triumph of Orthodoxy, *all* (laity
      included) exclaim "Anathema!" against those who hold
      heretical opinions.

      Is this because the laity have the power or the
      authority to *originate* anathemas? By no means!
      An anathema declared by a layperson has no force
      whatsoever--*unless* it it agrees with, and confirms,
      the anathemas already declared by the Ecumenical
      Councils and Holy Fathers, in harmony with the
      mind of the Church. Thus, when I or any other
      layperson says "That is anathema," or "They are
      anathema," we are not originating or decreeing
      a new anathema, so long as what we are saying
      agrees with and confirms the already-declared
      Hierarchical sentence. Further, the confirmation
      of a Hierarchical anathema by the laity in any
      given instance has no force ecclesiastically,
      except to the extent that it is acted upon and
      seconded by the Hierarchy.

      Ecumenical Canon XI of the Fifth Council requires
      me, and all Orthodox, to declare anathema against
      whatsoever and whosoever the Church has declared
      anathema. According to this Canon, anyone who
      fails to do this, is anathema himself.

      To hold beliefs which are anathema, has
      real consequences: spiritually, individually,
      and personally. It causes separation from the
      Church. To me, this is self-evident, and this
      is what I have been saying, and this is what
      St. Theophan taught. In a perfect world,
      this spiritual reality would be confirmed
      ecclesiastically by the Hierarchs, but this
      doesn't always happen. Nevertheless, I do
      not hold a Matthewite ecclesiology. On the
      contrary, I agree with the "ecclesiology of
      resistance" as held and taught by the Synod of
      Metropolitan Cyprian of Oropos and Fili, which
      agrees with the Holy Fathers and our Orthodox

      I confess that in my intial shock and dismay at the
      heretical actions of the Hierarchy of the Church of
      Antioch, I made hasty statements which were too general,
      too broad, and without sufficient forethought and due care,
      and for that I ask the forgiveness of all, and acknowledge
      my error. I will not say that the Church of Antioch
      has cut itself off from the Church--unless the Hierarchy
      makes this judgment. Nevertheless, as an Orthodox
      Christian, and therefore of One Mystical Body with the
      Church of Antioch, and suffering with her, I bear witness
      against the heresies of the Hierarchs of Antioch, heresies
      which, according to the Ecumenical Fathers, are worthy
      of anathema, and may the Lord grant me to hold this
      Orthodox faith until my last breath.

      Fr. John, why not just admit that we appear to have a
      sincere disagreement over what, in the scheme of things,
      is a relatively minor point? Why not rather say that I
      hold a "theologoumenon," a religious opinion, which you
      believe to be erroneous, or even, which *is* erroneous?
      Simple error, and heresy, are two different things. I have
      not accused you of any heresy--why go to such an extreme with
      me? You have not named my heresy, nor have you shown which
      Hierarchs have condemned it (as I have previously asked you
      to do). Therefore, I must now ask you, Fr. John: On what
      basis do you, as a Priest, make this accusation of heresy
      against me? What Hierarchical precedant allows you to
      rightly make such a certain and dread judgment against me?
      On what basis do you so confidently suggest that St. Theophan
      was in error? Why not rather say that perhaps there are
      aspects of anathemas which you had not previously considered,
      and that St. Theophan may have something to teach us? Or even,
      that you personally disagree with, or do not yet understand,
      what St. Theophan has taught on this subject? I freely admit
      that I have learned a lot in the course of our discussion,
      and for that I thank you, Fr. John. But even if we must
      "agree to disagree," I see no reason to go so far as to
      publicly and inflexibly say "you are teaching heresy."
      Perhaps you thought I wouldn't take your words seriously,
      but I have taken them to heart, and they have caused me
      much grief.

      It is my sincere hope that now that I have made myself more
      clear, and in part modified my position, you will now
      acknowledge that the causes for your initial judgment of
      heresy against me no longer exist. Fr. John, I humbly ask
      that you withdraw your accusation, so that we may put this
      matter to rest.

      Pray for the sinner

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